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Development Cooperation

European universities have played an important role in the international development cooperation agenda, partnering with institutions from developing countries and contributing to capacity building. EUA has advocated that development cooperation can and should be considered as an important element of the internationalisation agenda of European universities. Furthermore, it is strategically relevant for the European teaching, learning and research agendas; today’s higher education and research challenges cannot be tackled with without global partners and this must include developing and emerging economies across the world.

In the 2010 White Paper ‘Europe-Africa Higher Education Cooperation for Development’, EUA laid out a number of principles for European universities engaging with partners in emerging economies, in Africa and beyond.

Through a number of projects, EUA has supported capacity development by partnering with organisations in developing countries and regions and sharing practice from the EHEA:


North America

EUA maintains a strong relationship with both the American Council on Education (ACE) and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). Every two years, the three associations have gathered higher education institutional leaders for a Transatlantic Dialogue. The most recent event took place in New York in June 2010 and focused on ‘Higher Education in Turbulent Times: Facing Market Forces – Promoting the Common Good’.

Over the last few years, EUA has also been developing relations with the US Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), through active participation in CGS Annual Meetings as well as other meetings such as the global summit, which resulted in the formation of the Banff Principles on Graduate Education

EUA also participates regularly in the Association of International Educators (NAFSA), where it makes annual conference contributions on trends in European higher education and the impact of the new (Bologna) degree structures in the US.


EUA currently has an active working relationship with its sister body, the Association of African Universities (AAU).

Under the Erasmus Mundus funded project ‘Access to Success: Fostering trust and exchange between Europe and Africa, EUA developed new relationships with African partner organisations and mapped the various ways in which universities contribute to the development agenda. This project resulted in a project 'White Paper': Africa-Europe Higher education Cooperation for development: Meeting Regional and Global Challenges, which was tabled at the first official side-event of the Africa-EU Heads of State Summit  focused on higher education.

EUA and AAU also endorsed a joint Statement of Europe-Africa higher education cooperation, outlining the commitments of the two organisations.

EUA has also been working with AAU on the follow-up project ‘Europe-Africa Quality Connect’ and developed a partnership with the Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA), a partner in the CODOC project.


In an effort to generate dialogue and sustainable relations between Asian and European institutions, a region of growing interest, EUA has taken up a number of activities with Asian partners. From 2008-2009, EUA led a European Commission funded project ‘EU-Asia Higher Education Platform’ (EAHEP) organising thematic workshops, roundtables, symposia and European higher education fairs across Asia and Europe.

Furthermore, EUA has been active in the evolving ASEM Education Process and has been developing and engaged in follow-up projects to support collaboration. This includes CODOC: Collaboration of Doctoral Education between Asia, Africa, Latin-America and Europe (2010-2012).

Latin America and the Caribbean

In Latin America, there have been a number of initiatives that have aimed at higher education integration, harmonisation and enhanced cooperation and exchange with Europe and other world regions. Latin America has increasingly taken a concerted interest in better understanding the Bologna process and engaging in projects with European partners on the regional level. Further, the EU has also adopted an external policy strategy to develop an EU-LAC Common Higher Education Area (ALCUE), which is supported by funding initiatives.

EUA launched dialogue with Latin American university associations in May 2004. EUA and Consejo Universitario Iberoamericano (CUIB) signed the Declaration of Guadalajara in support of the creation of an integrated higher education and research area between the regions. In 2006 in Oviedo (Spain), another joint meeting produced a joint declaration as input to the EU-LAC Heads of State and Government Summit (Vienna, May 2006). As a result of the meeting, EUA and CUIB signed the Asturias Declaration, which identified seven areas for cooperation. The Declaration encouraged governments of the two regions, the European Commission and other funding bodies to support this collaboration at university level as part of their international cooperation schemes. EUA and CUIB organised another follow-up meeting in Barcelona (2008), resulting in the Barcelona Declaration, reinforcing partnership between university associations of both regions.

In February 2010, EUA, OBREAL and the Colombian Association of Universities (ASCUN), organised a joint meeting of university associations in Cartagena Colombia to discuss the state of play in the EU-LAC Common Higher Education/ Knowledge Area and make concrete recommendations for the EU-LAC Heads of State Summit in May 2010. English pdf.gif Spanish pdf.gif

As a direct follow-up, EUA, OBREAL and over 20 university associations from LA and Europe have been awarded a three-year ALFA project ‘ALFA-PUENTS’ supporting regional higher education in LA and the important role of university associations in this process. EUA is also working closely with the InterAmerican University Organisation (OUI) on the topic of doctoral education (CODOC project).

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96